Selected for 2017 Ladies Offroad Challenge Top 10
"Jessica recently became interested in rock crawling, but she has always loved jeeps and wanted to race cars or monster trucks since she was little. The only female in their small off-road group, Jessica has driven 4 black diamond trails and has been pushing herself to be better each time. She is also focused on learning the mechanical ins and outs of her vehicle to become better at fixing problems herself. Jessica is a single mother of 3 and owns her own hair salon."
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I am a Hair Artist/Color Master and I own my own salon in Shawnee, OK. I am a single mom of 3. I have loved Jeeps ever since I was little, and I always wanted to race cars or monster trucks. I got into rock crawling over a year ago, and I’m hooked. I go wheeling with a small group, I am the only female in the group. I love the challenge and push myself to be better each time. I own an 09 JK and a 2013 JK. My dream job would be to be a member of a competitive off-road team. I love learning all the mechanics to my Jeep, and I want to become better at working on it myself. I love traveling around the US and tackling new adventures in my Jeep
How long have you been offroading?
I have loved off-roading since I was little. I started with 3-wheelers then moved on to quads. I was taught to drive in a Suzuki Samurai, which fostered my love for Jeeps. I owned a little YJ back in ‘94 and did a little off-roading; sand dunes, gravel hills, and lots of river riding. Side-by-sides are great too, I own one now. I also bought a red 07 JKU that I named Little Red Wagon.
I got with a Jeep group and started my first adventure around October 2015 at Arbuckle Off-Road Park. The group was nice and walked me through everything until I felt comfortable. From there, I was hooked. I came across an 09 JKU, I wanted a 2-door because of all the crazy tight squeezes I had to do, I didn’t want to inflict a lot of damage. It had almost everything I wanted, but then the list of upgrades started. I did some modifications on ‘Lil Red Wagon,’ but I mainly kept it my daily driver until its transmission went out. I had the transmission rebuilt and then sold it. From there on I built my confidence and learned more skills from many of the different people I wheel with. Now I am a Jeep addict for life! I bought my new daily driver, a 2013 Sahara. She doesn’t have a name yet, I’ve toyed around with a few different things, but nothing has fit her so far. Off-roading is my passion! I strive to learn and conquer!
My baby’s name is Rockstar, simply because I love hair band/rock music. I love stars and I love rocks! I also love singing and music! Rockstar is an 09 JK on 35-inch tires with some cool 17-inch beadlocks with rockstar and stars on the rock rings. She is a Detonator Yellow with Purpleicious accents (people think I love LSU or the Minnesota Vikings. I love football but my team will always be the Dallas Cowboys). She has 5.13 gears and runs like a champ; still on stock axles except for the auburn locker in front. I love teraflex!! My shop’s guys installed a Teraflex 3-inch long arm suspension kit with the Teraflex shocks and matching detonator yellow long arms. She is also decked out in a 52-inch light bar with 6 pod lights on the column to help me see at night (because I’m blind haha); LED halo headlights to match. She has a Poison Spyder stubby stinger and DV8 tire carrier and bumper; limb risers for everyone to make fun of me, but the protect my light, and they get used a lot since OK is so wooded. She also has a Smittybilt 9500 lb winch with cable.
I have many favorites because each time is a new experience! I want to be the best driver I can be as well as a great partner. My group makes the best memories and always faces exciting challenges. One of my all time favorites was wheeling in Bridgeport, TX Northwest OHV park. It’s a very challenging park; the trails may look the same, but they are different every time you go through. My favorite area is called the minos; the trails in the back corner are like a roller coaster ride and you can swing around and get right back in line to try a different trail when you are done! It’s very rocky; you will never pick the same line. The trails are steep enough to make it challenging, but we always try to help each-other out and spot. We can be there for hours and always have a great time!
I think my most exciting achievement is that I have come so far in such a short amount of time. I remember how scared I was starting off; now I get such an adrenaline rush from accomplishing things I never thought were possible. The accomplishment that stands out the most would be the time I made it up a steep rocky grade to a loose rock stair-stepped canyon wall that was dubbed a ‘bouncer canyon’. I got to the top where the stairs were taller than my tire, and I was almost laid back in my seat. I got stuck , in the pitch dark mind you, and I was yelling for a winch line so I wouldn’t roll backwards. My most trusted spotter, a.k.a. my boyfriend, talked me out of my panic and got my to refocus on using my brake and gas, the ‘poor man’s locker’. I got up that step and to the top before my winch line even came. I was so proud of myself!
What excites you about offroading?
Wow, what a question; my goals and the future. Taking each step to approach as learning and making myself better. Maybe empowering others someday with all my knowledge and enthusiasm for the sport. My goal and dream board is pretty high up there with all the things I want to do and be a part of; all the adventures I will have.
The most challenging part of off-roading would be trying to not panic, trust, and listen to advice. Focus is key, you have so much going on all the time. It is easy to lose your focus and find yourself in trouble. I’m not the kind of ‘hold my beer and watch this,’ kind of gal. I am the one the type that, if someone says ‘I can’t do this,’ I make sure to get it done, and that they are there to cheer me on. Or, I make sure that I learn what I did wrong and vow to do better.
Definitely all of the cool places that I get to visit. Also, the conversations with all my clients and my family. They think that I am super cool! My friends think I’m an awesome driver and that I can hang out with the more serious, experienced drivers. Meeting new people and learning about all the mechanical aspects is really cool too! Its also awesome to meet new girls in the sport, and to help each-other out and look up to each-other.
My first go-to is creating lists. I have lists of things we need to camp, lists of tools, lists of parts. Then there’s checking the Jeeps, fluids, joints, bolts, and whatever mechanical things might need attention. There is the recovery gear list, and going shopping for anything we might need. We hook up the trailer and load everything up the night before, and we test everything. We load up everything we need the night before, make a route plan, and then set up a meeting spot so we can convoy together. Then when we wake up in the morning we take off!
I have an off-roading bucket list that goes on for days! These are some of my top places: Johnson Valley (I always talk about going to King of the Hammers), the Rubicon Trail, Fordyce Trail, Colorado (too many to list...pretty much the whole state), Utah, Moab, Zion...so all of Utah haha, Sedona, Mesa, Hot Springs Superlift ORV, Smorr, Hidden Falls in TX, Wolf Caves in TX, Big Bear, Oregon, the list goes on and on!
Tell us about who you go offroading with:
I have a small Jeep club that loves to wheel. They are my family! We have beginners all the way to the highly experienced members. We take on new wheelers as well as teach them our love of off-roading. Ages range from college kids to older adults, and all types of vehicles from Jeeps to Samurai’s and buggies. It’s a group of great people who are striving to accomplish great things on and off the trail. We back the Blue and support the troops. My Goonies squad is the best group of people I know!
The best piece of advice I have been given is to never wheel alone, and never leave anyone behind! ALso, the skinny pedal isn’t always your friend! I make sure to instil this in all of my off-roading adventures!
Do you have anything else you would like to add?
Additionally I want to be a part of the off-roading world. It is my dream and passion to be on an off-road professional team and be champion of the King of the Hammers. This is my dream, to make a living off-roading, and also to teach others my love for it!
Click here to see all the 2017 Ladies Offroad Challenge Entries.